I haven’t posted in this thread in a while, because the past few weeks my usual habits were disrupted heavily by an unexpected (but voluntary) house move, so most of the time I wasn’t spending a lot of time reading, with some periods of waiting sprinkled in where I only spent time reading…
Now it’s mostly quieting down so maybe I’ll get back to it!
Some stuff that I have been up to:
There was a point in there where I got frustrated that I wasted the catch-up opportunity of the gap month of ハルタ magazine and tried to make up for it by reading through the next issue. I enjoyed that a lot, and the issue opening with a full rundown (weirdly not in the preview) of all of the currently running ongoing series made me want to make some kind of a post or twitter thread or something introducing each of them myself… So then I probably bit off a lot more than I could try and started trying to catch up on (or at least get to a point where I could talk about) all the remaining series that I started in the middle of and don’t know very well.
I didn’t get close to really pulling that off before moving flared up again, but suffice to say for now Harta’s really fun and at some point I’ll probably try to talk more about various series therein!
I joined my first book club! But never was actually on schedule… I started 人間失格 which the advanced club is reading because I was already familiar with (albeit not especially high on) the book from the Junji Ito adaptation, so I was browsing the threads idly, and someone posted a passage with a question that I had fun reading and answering and it turned out after the mystery novels I was very hungry for something capital L Literary with not just detail but like, insinuations and meanderings and metaphors and stuff.
Now I’ve finished the book, and while I’ll try to save thoughts for when the club actually ends, in general I enjoyed the writing and think the original is much better than the adaptation (through no real fault of Ito - it just benefits from prose), but was (as expected) not especially into the large middle parts of the book that could be reductively described as “sad jerk tells us about his ex-girlfriends.” I’d be curious to read other Dazai at some point down the line.
I nominated something that got picked second, and want to read the next book too, so I guess I’m pretty locked into the club now! It’s been surprisingly fun. I’ll probably never manage to stick to the schedules…
The other book I was reading, No. 6, I thought was fine, but didn’t really grab me. I’m not a huge YA novel person, and I feel like even despite that I’ve read several different dystopian YA sci-fi novels and have maybe had my fill of them without a strong hook, and this reminds me a lot of those. The hook that does develop - it’s very gay - surprised me (not knowing really anything about the book beforehand) but, along with some body horror-ish elements I thought were intriguing, may have been too little too late. I probably won’t seek out the next volume any time soon, but I should at least skim through the old book club thread about it!
I use a weighted random draw to pick the next thing to read, and the roll after No.6 didn’t go great… I balked at the second Dirty Pair volume (feeling like a sci-fi lightish novel I wasn’t 100% sold on from the first novel might feel too similar to No. 6) and then balked again at 吾輩は猫である (feeling like an early 20th-century literary giant about a peculiar narrator might feel too similar to 人間失格) and then I got 獄門島, the next Yokomizo mystery novel I wanted to read, at which point I felt kind of silly for waffling.
I figured I’d play it by ear, and what ended up happening is I started flipping through 獄門島 just because it happens to be the one of those 3 that I own as a physical edition, and I was instantly hooked.
I don’t really know what it says about me that apparently “here’s a detailed explanation of some possible ways this island in the Seto strait may have gotten its unusual name” is a gripping opener where “I’m gonna perform emergency surgery on this mysterious boy even though it may jeopardize the entire course of my life” apparently isn’t, but it is what it is I guess!
Lastly, I haven’t given up on reading through 週刊プロレス but I’ve… certainly slowed down, sorry @fallynleaf. It’s the only goal I listed above that’s really at all in jeopardy, so at some point I’ll try to push through, but for now I finished No. 2123 (the one with Maika on the cover - good for her) a while back and forgot to talk about it, but I only have a little:
I remember Suwama impressing me in his interview talking about the Triple Crown Title, really making the weight of its history feel important in the lead-up to his match with Jake Lee (this was… a while ago). Made me a little wistful in the context of the new New Japan belt, and reminded me I’d like to reassess Suwama knowing his presence a bit better than I did when I watched the Champion Carnival where he lost a lot.
I didn’t know Izanagi had a Tiger Mask parody gimmick in Osaka called Tigers Mask, themed around the Hanshin Tigers. That’s a very good bit.
The theme for Giulia’s column is “なぜジュリアは口が悪いのか？” and from what I remember the answer involves her standing out and being bullied for being mixed race at school and developing a more aggressive personality in response.